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FTC Sues Low-Light Therapy Company for Deceptive Advertising

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Physician’s Technology, LLC on Thursday over its deceptive advertising of a low-light laser therapy (LLLT) device called Willow Curve. The FTC alleged that the device’s marketers falsely claimed it was “scientifically proven” and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Willow Labs, LLC was also named as a defendant. The case is being held in the Eastern District of Michigan before Judge Nancy G. Edmunds. 

Physician’s Technology is accused of falsely claiming since 2014 that the Willow Curve was FDA-approved “to diagnose and treat chronic, severe pain and reduce inflammation.” Marketed as being “clinically proven” and of having “smart technology,” the device came with a “risk-free money back” guarantee even though customers allegedly still had to pay shipping and handling fees for returns. The complaint provided pictures from the device’s nationally broadcasted television commercials which outline additional false claims.

Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a press release, “When LLLT sellers say their devices will relieve pain, they’d better have the scientific proof to back it up.” He continued, “People looking for drug-free pain relief deserve truthful information about these products.” 

Physician’s Technology is a Michigan-based medical device company that “has developed significant advancements designed to treat pain that limits performance and particularly knee and joint pain,” according to its Linkedin page. The company is owned by Dr. Ronald Shapiro and David Sutton. 

As a result of its allegedly deceptive advertising, the FTC seeks an injunction preventing future violations and an award of relief. Additionally, the proposed settlement order “imposes a $22 million judgment against the defendants, which will be partially suspended after Shapiro and Sutton each pay $200,000.”

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